It might not be a commonly voiced question, but what are large blind spots on trucks called? Perhaps, a more important consideration is not the name given to these dangerous blind spots but the damage they can do in the case of a road accident. In New York and New Jersey, residents drive alongside big trucks every day without acknowledging the potential devastation that can come in a split-second decision to ignore this blind spot and change lanes.
Sadaka Law sees countless examples of these avoidable accidents, and drivers that want to protect themselves on the road should note the similarities in these cases.
What Are Large Blind Spots On Trucks Called in Technical Jargon?
While car and motorcycle drivers do not have the same blind spot range as truck drivers, almost all vehicles have severely limited views of the areas alongside them. However, trucks are particularly disadvantaged with a very large blind spot in front of them and behind the trailer. Seeing into these blind spots requires mirrors or turning the head, but that is not always enough to prevent accidents.
Technically, a truck’s blind spots are called “no-zones.” This no-zone area describes where the traffic becomes invisible to the truck driver’s position without deliberate actions to see into those blind spots. Forgetting about these no-zones while driving, parking, and pulling off puts vehicles and pedestrians at risk, and other drivers would be wise to take precautions when approaching a truck that could take a wide turn or change lanes unexpectedly.
Drivers must use extreme caution near big trucks, as many truck-related accidents turn out to be the non-commercial vehicle driver’s responsibility. Truck drivers receive extensive training to share the road safely with other vehicles. However, cases do occur where new or negligent truck drivers:
- forget about the blind spot,
- position mirrors incorrectly, or
- allow distraction or fatigue to heighten the risk of an accident.
Why Do Trucks Carry Such Huge Blind Spots?
A side note is that many people wonder why trucks still have such extensive blind spots when the risk to other road users is so severe. The answer is in several design aspects, including the bulkiness of the rig that makes it cumbersome to maneuver. Older vehicles may lack critical safety features, while modern trucks typically include features like a reverse-assistant camera to resolve the risks.
Semi trucks with lengthy trailers have extremely limited visibility. Even a larger mirror is not enough to counteract the driver’s lost line of sight on the sides, back, and front. Passenger vehicle drivers have a broader scope available to them, so the responsibility to avoid accidents lies in their court, as well.
A Truck’s Four Primary Blind Spots
If a driver cannot see the truck’s operator in the side mirrors, their vehicle is likely in the truck’s blind spot. A truck has blind spots on all sides: front, back, left, and right. Knowing how far these blind spots reach and their exact location is important to avoid collisions, or worse.
Here are the main blind spots that other drivers should be aware of when approaching a large vehicle:
- While truck drivers would only be able to see their load in the rearview mirror, the only other option would be the side mirrors.
- The entire back end is a blind spot without camera-assisted technology.
- The truck’s height also causes blind spots; objects directly in front of the truck will be invisible, including smaller cars or pedestrians.
Front Blind Spot
A truck’s front blind spot extends around 20 feet from the driver’s seat. Small or short vehicles such as motorcycles should avoid this blind spot wherever possible. Stay at least twenty feet in front of the truck to remain in clear sight of the operator, and avoid braking suddenly or changing lanes without indicating.
It is vital to remember that the weight of the truck’s load increases the brake time. It is difficult for the driver to stop quickly, and sudden braking by vehicles in front of the truck might result in the rig crashing into them.
Rear Blind Spot
What are large blind spots on trucks called in the rear of the vehicle? These “rear no-zones” come about because the trailer adds several feet. The rear blind spot spans around 200 feet from the truck’s back bumper and also means that small vehicles cannot see in front of or alongside the trailer.
With no rearview mirror, truck drivers can’t tell how far back a vehicle is before braking, and there may not be enough time for vehicles behind it to stop. Vehicles that are too close behind them also risk damage from falling trailer contents.
Right Blind Spot
In the United States, a truck’s right-side blind spot is considerably larger than the left side. The right no-zone spans the entire right side of the trailer and three lanes to the right. It also reaches several feet behind the trailer.
Other vehicles should avoid passing a truck on the right; the driver cannot see vehicles passing on the right on the highway or at intersections. Stay one car length behind them and drive cautiously.
Left Blind Spot
The fourth blind spot for truck drivers is on the left and reaches from the driver’s door to three-quarters of the way down the trailer and several feet behind it. The blind spot extends one lane to the left of the truck. The driver will see passing vehicles sooner on the left, but it still requires caution from the other driver to avoid collisions.
How to Avoid a Truck’s No-Zone
Avoiding a truck’s no-zone keeps everyone safer on the road, even though it is a truck driver’s responsibility to check surrounding traffic. Knowing the extent of the four blind spots and employing defensive driving practices will help other drivers avoid a truck’s no-zone and minimize risk. A bulky truck can move quickly, but smaller vehicles typically have faster reaction times and lighter weights to give them an advantage for moving out of the way.
Here are four ways to avoid a truck’s blind spots while driving:
Do Not Cut Off a Big Truck
The 20-foot blind spot in front of a truck means that drivers may not see a vehicle that suddenly swerves in front of them. Carrying a heavy load also contributes to slower braking times, even if the truck driver happens to see the vehicle cut in front of them at the last minute. Passenger vehicle drivers should intentionally avoid cutting off big commercial vehicles or forcing them to brake suddenly; it risks vehicles in front of and behind the truck.
Stay Out of Blind Spots
Stay away from a semi truck’s blind spots; the trailer and cab’s size create extensive problem areas that the driver just will not be able to see. Keep a safe distance from the truck and stay in view of the driver.
Only Pass on the Left
When passing a truck, pass quickly and steadily in the left lane; avoid passing on the right. The driver’s position in the truck makes it easier for them to see cars on the left side, although the blind spot is still considerable. If you can’t immediately pass on the left, rather slow down and wait for a suitable opportunity.
Passenger vehicle drivers should drive until they see the truck’s bumper in their rearview mirror before returning to the other lane safely.
Maintain a Safe Following Distance
A common case seen at Sadaka Law involves a truck accident that happens in the rear no-zone. Authorities recommend staying up to 25 car lengths or four seconds away from the truck to avoid these situations. Moving into the truck’s slipstream is not recommended.
Truck Accident Liability: Who is Responsible?
So, what are large blind spots on trucks called, and how can drivers weigh the risk of a road accident? The four no-zones above should cover the primary danger points, but despite these precautions, a truck accident often comes with a challenging investigation. A truck accident lawyer like those at Sadaka Law will often need to build a case so that the courts can determine who is at fault.
Parties responsible for the accident may include:
- Truck drivers
- Mechanics and truck parts companies
- Truck driving agencies
- State, local, or federal government offices
- Non-commercial drivers who did not avoid the truck’s blind spot
Due to the complex nature of these truck-related incidents, an attorney may also retain outside help to gather evidence of each party’s level of involvement.
Truck Accident Lawyers
A commercial truck and passenger vehicle accident is a serious matter that requires careful handling. At Sadakaw Law, our truck accident lawyers have nearly 15 years of experience in identifying negligence, defending victims, and curating accurate legal representation. The team also assists clients with filing claims, evaluating damages, and more.
What are large blind spots on trucks called when there is an accident? Competent attorneys may call them the foundations for a stronger case. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a truck accident, contact Sadaka Law at 1-800-810-3457 today to find out more.